We published the LNFS England vision over two months ago. After several months of positive developments across the community, we would like to take stock and reflect on the state of development of futsal in England, discuss whether or not it changes our vision, and lay out our role in achieving the shared goals of everyone involved in the sport.
Our vision states:
LNFS England is an inclusive and democratic big tent – run by futsal clubs, for futsal clubs.
Our vision is of connected and coherent futsal organisation across England, which embraces and nurtures futsal clubs as engines of change and development within their communities.
LNFS England has four strategic aims:
- Club development. We will work with futsal clubs across England to help them develop SMART business plans that build sustainability and generate growth, whatever their current level of development.
- Competition development. We will work towards unification of English futsal into a connected and coherent futsal pyramid and pathway, owned and run by its Member Clubs, and providing opportunities for all ages, genders, and backgrounds, from elite to non-elite players.
- Venue development. We will work with local and national partners in the public and private sectors to establish a network of international-standard futsal arenas across England through strategically planned retro-fitting and new-build.
- Leadership development. We will develop futsal leaders, starting with the LNFS England Board of Directors, who will be selected on merit and always be democratically accountable to Member Clubs.
English futsal is still in an early stage of its development despite over a decade of affiliated competitions covering the whole country. At LNFS England we understand that English futsal needs more players and clubs, better competitions, better venues and, most importantly, better leadership. All of the above will provide the sport with stronger foundations on which to build an attractive and marketable product that can compete for both participants and spectators with continental European futsal and other mainstream sports. Our aims to achieve this vision remain unchanged.
Recent broadcasting of England’s “Tier 1” competition live on YouTube is a potentially positive development for the marketing of the sport, showcasing the best teams in the country, with high-end production that included live commentary, team line-ups, pre- and post-match interviews, and quality graphics. However, despite this large investment in production, YouTube data indicate that audiences for the live streams decreased across the three weeks of broadcasting (average viewers across all NFS1 matches of 271 in week 1, 234 in week 2, and 165 in week 3). Next weekend’s finals are due to be broadcast on a BT Sport channel and will showcase the best teams in what should be very competitive matches. If they are placed on the prominent channels (BT Sport 1 & 2) and promoted sufficiently through paid advertising then this could be a great opportunity to attract a new wave of viewers and hopefully participants who can enjoy the sport.
The LNFS England view of the main value of broadcasting at the current stage of English futsal development differs from this. We will be filming, professionally editing, and broadcasting at least 40 of our matches next season, with the following main aims:
- Production of short, attractive highlights clips for distribution across social media with the aim of attracting further participation in the sport.
- Establishment of an objective baseline of current team performance so that improvements can be monitored over the coming years.
- Provision of technical analysis of filmed matches to help LNFS England clubs improve their performance.
LNFS England remains committed to the development of futsal and will continue to provide leadership that represents the main stakeholders in the game – the clubs. We continue to create new links with national and international partners and work with organisations that share our vision, just as the LNFS in Spain continues to spread its brand around the globe, recently announcing partnerships with futsal organisations in the USA, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, with more to follow, growing the LNFS family to build an international futsal community. Our job at LNFS England is to build a domestic futsal community that can, with the support of this international LNFS community, develop the whole game based on a growing number of sustainable clubs. This means recruiting more clubs, giving existing clubs the tools to grow, improving the quality and scope of our competitions, and increasing the quality of opportunities for young people to engage with the sport.
LNFS England are here to build that community, and to build it with strong foundations. Only clubs can support that mission. Be one of them.